There may be another alternative for sensitive noses that react poorly to traditional nasal sprays: A Stanford study shows that preservative-free sprays appear to be safe and well-tolerated. As reported by WebMD:
Researchers say pharmaceutical companies rely on chemical preservatives, such as benzalkonium chloride and phenylcarbinol, to destroy or slow the growth of potentially dangerous microorganisms that may enter the container after opening. But these preservatives can damage delicate tissues in the nose and cause unpleasant side effects such as burning or irritation...
Researchers say making the spray more acidic is an alternative way to maintain sterility of nasal and other solutions commonly used to deliver drugs to delicate areas.
In a trial of 20 subjects, there were no differences in nasal symptoms or problems between the spray containing an acidified solution and the preservative-containing spray. While the results are encouraging, the study, which appears in the Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, was small and short-term. Larger follow-up studies are needed, the researchers said.